Friday, September 25, 2009

Adam Steffey Release Party at the Station Inn

The Adam Steffey release party at the Station Inn early on Thursday evening provided those attending with a rare opportunity. Solo projects are usually put together in the studio and the bands participating in them never, or rarely, see the light of day. Adam's new project, “One More for the Road,” is important enough and good enough to draw a standing room crowd to the Station Inn and leave them screaming for more when it was over. Hosted by Sugar Hill Records and broadcast live over WSM radio in the period preceding the Thursday evening Grand Old Opry program, the event was a hit and launched this exciting project, which hit the streets on Tuesday. I'll be writing about the CD after IBMA. For now, suffice it to say that it's better than very good, filled with new tunes, played by a first rate band, filled with guest artists, and dominated by Adam Steffey's mandolin picking and imposing voice.

The Band
Adam Steffey

Ron Stewart

Barry Bales

Clay Hess

Justin Moses

Randy Kohrs

Tina Steffey


Not everyone appearing on the CD performed last night, but, with the exception of Justin Moses, everyone on the stage is also on the CD. The atmosphere was electric. It's hard to point specifically to any performer when the on-stage band doesn't have a hole in it. I'd never heard Ron Stewart so powerful on the banjo. Maybe it was just something I hadn't paid enough attention to. Clay Hess was powerful and accurate on guitar, fine singing lead on one song and strong on harmony vocals. Barry Bales on bass was beyond solid, always providing the powerful beat along with standing out while staying in the background – a tough task. Justin Moses on fiddle and harmony vocals was his usual reliable self. Randy Kohrs, on resonator, was his usual intense and always in motion self. His backup play provided at wealth of power to the wall of sound created by this band, and his solos were lightning fast, interesting, tasteful, and more. Tina Steffey ably played clawhammer banjo on one song, bringing skill as well as beauty to the affair.

Adam Steffey, seven time IBMA mandolin player of the year and nominated again this year, dominated the event, as he should have on his own project. He has a vibrant and winning stage personality which is always in evidence. His mandolin play stands as a model for others, traditional yet adding to the music. Because Adam is such a superb mandolin player, he may not get enough credit of his very good singing. He has a warm and resonant bass-baritone voice with a broad range and rich timbre. When he performs, his joy in the moment is obvious to anyone lucky enough to see him work.

The Scene

Ronnie Bowman and Garnet Imes Bowman

Donica Christensen and John Weissburger

Chris Harris

WSM Interview with Adam

Susan Smith Trianosky (Tina Steffey's Mom)

One of the joys of attending an event at The Station Inn is the scene itself. Located in an unassuming neighborhood just off the interstate highway and down the street from a strip club, The Station Inn is probably not a place a person would find if he weren't looking for it. Nevertheless, knowledgeable fans and lots of people in the music biz find their way there regularly. It was a pleasure to meet Lily Pawlak, here for IBMA from the Czech Republic, and to see lots of others we either know or recognized. It was particularly enjoyable to see young and up-and-coming mandolinist Chris Harris there, who tells me he's keeping busy and finding his way in his new venture as a song writer in Nashville. Sugar Hill folks Donica Christensen and Ryan Baker were busy and helpful. Ronnie Bowman and his delightful wife Garnet were very much in evidence. Josh Shilling, Stephen Mougin, Dave Blood, and many more were there. I shouldn't have started doing this, because I'm sure to have missed some people. A caterer who provided delicious small baloney, pork, and smoked sausage mini-sandwiches supplemented the usual pizza, popcorn, and beer menu of the Station Inn. People don't go there for fine dining, they go for the great music, and there's plenty of that. Check out their schedule and stop there next time you're in Nashville.
 Chris Stapleton, The Bowmans, and More

The Adam Steffey Band at the Station Inn

The release party was a great event for everyone who attended or listened live on WSM 650. “One More for the Road” is a first rate project and deserves close attention. More on that in a few weeks.